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Australia new vehicle sales climb 9 pct in Sept-industry

SYDNEY, Oct 4 (Reuters) - Sales of new vehicles in Australia were up a healthy 9 percent in September, compared to the same month last year, led by hefty gains in sports utility and commercial vehicles, industry data showed on Thursday.

The Australian Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries VFACTS report showed total vehicle sales in September were 94,627, compared to 86,819 in the same month last year.

Sales were up 1.1 percent on August in original terms, while adjusting for seasonal factors left sales up 3.2 percent for the month, VFACTS said.

Sales of sport utility vehicles extended their barnstorming run with a rise of 20.7 percent on a year earlier. The light commercial market was also strong with a rise of 10.7 percent and the heavy truck market enjoyed a jump of 12.4 percent, pointing to solid business investment.

For the nine months to September, sales were running at 822,674, up 9.4 percent on the same period last year.

This was the second month of robust vehicle numbers and a stark contrast with softness seen in retail sales. It shows consumers still have the confidence to splash out on big ticket items even while being cost conscious elsewhere.

For August alone, Toyota retained first place in the sales ladder with 18.3 percent of the market. Mazda

Jumped to second spot with 10.7 percent, while the Holden unit of General Motors

fell back to third at 9.5 percent.

Hyundai

followed with 8.3 percent, trailed by Ford at 8.2 percent.

Details of the VFACTS report in original terms:

Sep Aug m/m pct Sep/11 y/y pct

Sales 94,627 93,552 +1.1 86,819 +9.0 Sales by Type: Sep '12/Sep '11 Volumes Change Pct Change Passenger Vehicles +1,510 +3.2 Sports Utility +4,301 +20.7 Light Commercial +1,693 +10.7 Heavy Commercial +304 +12.4 (Reporting by Wayne Cole)

((Wayne.Cole@thomsonreuters.com; 612 9373 1813; Reuters Messaging: wayne.cole.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: AUSTRALIA ECONOMY/VEHICLES